‘A lament is a passionate expression of grief that God meets you in’
‘Lament is an introduction to the world…it’s broken and its hurting’
‘This language of lament is found all throughout Scripture and woven through every single human life’
“Would someone like King David be a worship leader in our church today? Probably not,” Esther Fleece challenged. “We would probably say we need more happy, upbeat songs.”
Quotes from Esther Fleece. Who is Esther Fleece? And what’s with the word lament? Shortly all will be revealed.
Just when you may have thought Vision Radio’s breakfast show couldn’t get any better, it does.
Rise and Shine’s Robbo and Becci have hit a purple patch, as a growing queue of highly esteemed guests, line up one after the other, to literally rise and shine with Vision’s dawn-busters in unsurpassed occasions of overflowing joyfulness awash with great lashings of exuberance and gaiety tempered with a sprinkling of sobriety.
That said and done, let’s go turn the microphones on.
Becci and Robbo’s very special guest recently was Esther Fleece. A remarkable young woman whom Becci already knows quite well. (Becci being another remarkable young woman.)
“Hello Lovely,” Becci said, to which Esther replied,“It’s so good to talk with you again, I’m so glad to be with you. I’ve missed you. I wish I was there in person.”
To explain what’s happening here. This is a ‘phone hookup’. The guest could be on planet Mars, but Esther Fleece is not. She’s in the USA.
Next, it was down to business and the radio business is Robbo’s forte. He’s the pro and went right for the jugular, asking the big question.
“I know that you’ve released a book that we’re keen to talk to you about,” Robbo announced with Becci hot on his heels with the ‘big sell’ follow up.
“The book is called ‘No More Faking Fine’ and I just think the title is awesome and in this day and age I think it’s a book everyone needs to read,” Becci stated.
Over to author Esther Fleece who said Faking It is the default for many of us no matter where we live.
“We like to put our best face forward and our best foot forward and somewhere along the line we have lost our authenticity with the mistake of putting on a happy face,” Esther declared saying that when she met Becci a decade ago she was a very optimistic person.
Robbo mentioned how it’s expected in the Christian world to ‘Praise the Lord’ and everything’s going well along with the ‘fake it until you make it’ line.
“Back then I always thought the glass was half-full, so it was quite a journey to write this book and rediscover this language of lament that I do find to be all throughout Scripture and woven through every single human life,” Esther said, admitting that she had to ask herself why she was looking for faith that was happy all the time when she was warned that trials are going to come.
“You’re right. We do have these ups and downs and you see it through Scripture and yet we don’t like to admit the down times, challenges and struggles,” Robbo said.
Esther agreed with the ‘fake it until you make it’ slogan, saying it’s not in the Scriptures and there’s reference to it in her book.
“I used to say that but it’s really not an expectation God has for His people,” Esther informed
“What I’ve found is there’s many Scriptures that tell us to be joyful and to pray continually to not be anxious. I was holding on to those without realizing the context in which they were written,” Esther said, saying how Paul would be content yet he was falsely accused and thrown into prison.
Esther doesn’t think Paul was meant to ignore the hardships he endured. Being ship-wrecked, beaten and persecuted.
“I think those hardships were an invitation for him to go to the Father with the pain he was experiencing. Yet in the midst of this pain and going by his laments, Paul found this deep joy in spite of his circumstances not changing,” Esther commented, saying she realized she was only giving God her ?? best and only my strength.
“But God wanted all of me including the bad including the disappointment and even the anxiety I had tried for so many years to hide,” Esther confessed.
Robbo wanted to know how Esther switched from putting on the sometimes fake happy face to something more genuine if lamenting was more appropriate for her circumstances.
Esther recalled a series of difficult circumstances she couldn’t get out of. It felt like suffering kept happening in her life.
“It was almost like the more obedient I was to God the more trials that were coming into my life. So it forced me to wrestle with questions, what were the coping mechanisms that I had established in my life when hardship hits and were they Biblical,” Esther shared, as she recalled a court case centred on her biological parents when she was a 10-year old.
“As a little girl I was called to testify. And in the middle of that court case my father and his lawyer took my diary out and started reading this diary in front of the courtroom,” Esther said, saying she was humiliated and embarrassed.
“And in the moment when I really needed comfort the judge looked at me and he said, ‘You need to suck it up, Esther.’
“And for the next 20 years, whenever I heard a teaching or read in Scripture that God was a judge, it almost reinforced this false belief. And so for 20 years I was believing in this ‘suck it up’ Christianity that is not a standard God calls us to,” Esther testified.
It was because of this courtroom experience as a 10-year old that Esther said her coping mechanism stopped working and suffering continued to hit her life. She realized she was setting herself up for this Christian strength that God Himself wasn’t expecting of her.
Robbo commented that it’s not a natural thing for many of us to actually embrace lament to which Esther replied to say the church has virtually stopped teaching on lament.
“Or we’ve made them sound prettier than they really are. But when you study the Scriptures I realized that God’s people lamented and it was a great testimony of the faithfulness of God.’
“Lament is an introduction to the world. The world is lamenting, the world is broken and its hurting,” Esther shared.
“Whether it’s in a small group or in a marriage, when we start letting people know the deep grief that’s inside of us, the fears, doubts and insecurities we have, it starts to normalize people around us,” Esther said, saying that she realised Noah, Moses, Esther, Mordecai and Jesus, they all lamented.
“And Jesus let us into His laments and God the Father lamented and let us know His emotion. And the Holy Spirit can be grieved.”
“And so lament is a characteristic of the Christian faith. While we’re here on earth we are going to be lamenting. And it’s a great testimony that we can cry out to a God and He hears our cry,” Esther declared.
Becci whole-heartedly agreed, saying God wants our tears, disappointments and our anxieties, but until now she’d never thought about God wanting our lamenting until she’d read Esther’s book.
“It was a whole new concept to me, but having read the book it’s explained in such a simple manner with the Biblical principles to back it up,” Becci confirmed, saying how the Biblical characters tore their clothes and cried.
“They weren’t always happy were they?”
Esther said one person who’d read the book said it helped them see the verses in Scripture that aren’t hung on a refrigerator.
“Those verses are just as important. They’re the inspired Word of God, and I just wonder if Jeremiah or Ezekiel, some of these weeping prophets, if they were in the churches of 2017, would we even welcome them?” Esther queried.
“It’s OK to sing a lament. It might help give people a voice and a way to pray to God when their circumstances are difficult,” Esther concluded.
“Would someone like King David be a worship leader in our church, probably not,” Esther said. “we would probably say, ‘we need more happy, upbeat songs’, but the Book of Psalms was a hymn book for the Jewish people,” Esther noted, saying this is a call to action for worship leaders and pastors.
Esther Fleece’s success and influence as a millennial leader have come not only courtesy of professional acumen, but personal experience. It is through the tragedies and triumphs of her own life, shared as a highly sought-after international speaker, that she has established authority and authenticity with people from all walks of life.
Fleece is founder and CEO of L&L Consulting, Inc., where she helps new and established Christian ministries develop innovative strategies for non-profit sustainability, new business development, next generation outreach, marketing and communications and relationship brokering. She is recognized as a trailblazer among millennials, working for a decade to connect influential individuals and organizations across generations to their mutual benefit.